The Buena Vista men’s basketball team used a stellar effort at the free-throw line on Monday night, including a stretch over the final minute where it sank all 10 of its attempts over the final minute en route to a key 84-80 Iowa Conference road victory at Central College (9-7, 2-4 IIAC).
Trailing 75-74 with 1:26 to play, senior Wes Nordquist (Adel, Iowa/ADM) stepped to the line and sank both free-throws to give the Beavers the lead back at 76-75. Central then turned the ball over on its ensuing possession, giving BVU a chance to extend the lead. Sophomore Alex Savage (Des Moines, Iowa/Dowling Catholic) did just that, connecting on both of his free-throw attempts for a 78-75 lead with right at 35 seconds left.
A quick layup from the Dutch cut it back down to 78-77 with 24 seconds left, and after a Central timeout, Savage was again fouled and made both attempts at the charity stripe with 21 seconds left.
BVU again got the ball back after another Central turnover, and Savage came through yet again with two more free-throws making it a five-point lead with 12 ticks left. The Dutch did make a three-point bucket with four seconds left to cut the deficit to just two, but junior Michael Kaufmannn (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) joined in and made the two game-clinching free-throws with only two seconds left.
BVU led 37-33 at the half and used a quick 7-0 spurt to start the second half and build an 11-point advantage. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Dutch quickly responded with a 21-9 run to take a 54-53 lead with 13 minutes left in regulation.
Central continued to stay in front until senior Troy Ticknor (Adel, Iowa/ADM) buried a three-pointer to give the Beavers a 61-60 cushion with 9:18 left. The game was tight the rest of the way with seven ties in the half.
The first half was equally as close with 16 lead changes. BVU’s six-point lead with four minutes left in the period was the largest lead of the half by either side.
Darrow made 6-of-11 shots from the field and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. Nordquist fell a rebound shy of his 11th double-double of the year, but his nine boards did send him past 800 career rebounds, making him just the second player in school history to reach 1,400 career points and 800 career rebounds. He finished the game shooting 6-of-16 from the field and making four of his six free-throws.
Savage, who went 6-of-6 at the charity stripe followed with 12 points and two assists off the bench, as Ticknor made a team-leading three long range buckets to chip in with 11 points. Kaufmann dished out a team-leading four assists.
Defensively, BVU forced 18 turnovers and out-rebounded the Dutch 34-33. The Beavers committed just nine turnovers, while dishing out 17 assists.
The win moves BVU to 12-5 overall and 4-2 in league play and just one game back of Wartburg and Luther in the IIAC standings, as both the Knights and Norse each suffered their first IIAC losses. BVU looks to make it back-to-back road wins when it travels to Coe College for a 6:00pm tip-off on Wednesday night.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.